Course Objectives - Middle School

English Department

Language Arts 6

Sixth grade students will be reflective participants in classroom discussions. The students will present personal opinions and understand differing points of view, distinguish between fact and opinion, and analyze the effectiveness of group communication skills. The students will read a variety of fiction and nonfiction independently for appreciation and comprehension, including a significant number of classic works. Students will also plan, draft, revise, and edit narratives, descriptions, and explanations with attention to composition and style, as well as sentence formation, usage, and mechanics.

Resources shall include, but not be limited to the following: selected county textbooks for spelling, grammar and literature, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, computer software, Internet, various literary works, art prints, posters, maps, field trips, resource people, electronic media, newspapers, dictionary, and thesaurus.

Assessment methods include the following: book reports, research, writings, accelerated reading, tests, quizzes, journals, individual portfolios, homework, projects, class participation, and class assignments.

Language Arts 7

The seventh grade language arts curriculum focuses on continuing the studies of literature, oral language, reading, research, and writing. Special emphasis is placed on developing skills in oral and written communications, the writing process, and in analyzing literature from varied sources.

Resources shall include, but not be limited to the following: selected county textbooks for spelling, grammar and literature, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, computer software, Internet, various literary works, art prints, posters, maps, field trips, resource people, electronic media, newspapers, dictionary, and thesaurus.

Assessment methods include the following: book reports, research, writings, accelerated reading, tests, quizzes, journals, individual portfolios, homework, projects, class participation, and class assignments.

English 8

English 8 encompasses the study of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. In reading, the focus is on comprehension and identification of genres, literary elements, and techniques. The student will learn interviewing techniques. They will plan, draft, revise, and edit writing that emphasizes research, various writing styles, and grammatical models. Students will review the parts of speech and study sentence structure, usage, mechanics, and various forms of composition. Literary readings should foster an appreciation of classical and contemporary literature.

Resources shall include, but not be limited to the following: selected county textbooks for spelling, grammar, and literature, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, computer software, Internet, various literary works, art prints, posters, maps, field trips, resource people, electronic media, newspapers, dictionary, and thesaurus.

Assessment methods include the following: book reports, research, writings, accelerated reading, tests, quizzes, journals, individual portfolios, homework, projects, class participation, and class assignments.

Foreign Language Department

Spanish I

Spanish I is a 36 week course that is offered to eighth grade students for high school credit. The course focuses on an introduction to the Spanish language. Basic communication skills are taught. The objectives of the course are the following: (1) to learn beginning Spanish communication skills, (2) to learn beginning Spanish grammar, and (3) to reinforce knowledge of the Spanish speaking countries and their culture.

Class resources and materials shall include, but will not be limited to the following: selected county textbook, videos, audiotapes, newspapers, current events, electronic media, maps, globes, books, periodicals, generic resources, computer software, the Internet, speakers, and field trips.

Assessment methods may include the following: chapter tests, oral and written quizzes, class work, assigned papers, biographies, outside reports, and oral reports.

Math Department

Math 6

Grade 6 mathematics places emphasis on the study of whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Also included are conversions within a given measurement system, estimation, geometry, the use of ratios to compare sets of data, and the solving of equations in one variable. Students are taught to use the correct mathematical vocabulary, concepts, skills, and symbols. We also continue to teach problem-solving skills throughout the sixth grade.

Class resources and materials shall include, but not be limited to the following: selected county textbook, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, manipulatives, computer software, calculators, field trips, electronic media, and a wide variety of supplemental materials that reinforce the skills being taught.

Methods of student assessment are the following: homework, class work, quizzes, standardized tests, worksheets, teacher made tests, teacher observations, cumulative reviews, class participation, projects, journals, conferences, and learning logs.

Pre-Algebra

Pre-Algebra is offered as an advanced placement course and in grade 8 as the basic curriculum course. This course is designed to bridge the gap and prepare students for Algebra I. Students develop more abstract concepts in algebra such as solving multi-step equations, graphing linear equations, applying transformations to geometric figures, and using matrices to organize and interpret data. Students are given the opportunity to identify real-life applications of the mathematical principles being taught.

Class resources and materials shall include, but not be limited to the following: selected county textbook, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, manipulatives, computer software, calculators, field trips, electronic media, and a wide variety of supplemental materials that reinforce the skills being taught.

Methods of student assessment are the following: homework, class work, quizzes, standardized tests, worksheets, teacher made tests, teacher observations, cumulative reviews, class participation, projects, journals, conferences, and learning logs.

Algebra I

The Algebra I course is designed to connect algebra with arithmetic and geometry as well as probability and statistics. The abstract concepts of algebra should be connected to other subject areas through practical applications. Algebra should be a tool for representing and solving a variety of practical problems. Tables and graphs will be used to interpret algebraic expressions, equations, and inequalities and to analyze functions. Matrices will also be used to manipulate and organize data. Tools such as calculators, computers, spreadsheets, and graphing utilities (such as graphing calculators) will be used to assist in problem solving. Students will be encouraged to talk about mathematics, to use the language and symbols of mathematics to communicate, to discuss problems and problem solving, and to develop their confidence in mathematics. Successful completion of this class will result in a credit being awarded toward graduation.

Class resources and materials shall include, but not be limited to the following: selected county textbook, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, manipulatives, computer software, TI-83 and TI-84 calculators, field trips, electronic media, and a wide variety of supplemental materials that reinforce the skills being taught.

Methods of student assessment are the following: homework, class work, quizzes, standardized tests, worksheets, teacher made tests, teacher observations, cumulative reviews, class participation, projects, journals, conferences, and learning logs.

Personal Living and Finances

The Personal Living and Finances objectives are incorporated in middle school mathematics classes for the purpose of teaching students "the skills to manage personal finances and to make sound financial decisions."

Science Department

Science 6

The sixth grade science curriculum is an integrated curriculum that prepares students to understand challenges and to make informed decisions based on knowledge and skills they acquire through scientific investigations. Through various disciplines such as, physical science, life science, earth and space science, and environmental science, the sixth grade curriculum involves real problems and issues. Using interactive, hands-on techniques, and unbiased application, students apply science-based knowledge to the thinking processes.

Class resources and materials shall include, but not be limited to the following: the selected county textbook and ancillary materials, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, videos, community professionals, school science fair, lab equipment, field trips, computer software, the electronic media, and the Internet.

Assessment methods in science include the following: homework, class work, presentations, simulations, quizzes, tests, creating, and drawing models, investigation activities, learning logs, journals, science fair projects, and other student projects.

Science 7

In grade 7, special emphasis is placed on the use of the scientific method of problem solving. Forming hypotheses, experimentation, data collection and analysis, and drawing conclusions are stressed. Major areas of study include energy, matter, work, force, and motion, cellular organization in plants and animals, environmental issues, and conservation of natural resources.

Class resources and materials shall include, but not be limited to the following: selected county textbook and ancillary materials, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, videos, community professionals, school science fair, lab equipment, field trips, computer software, the electronic media, and the Internet.

Assessment methods in science include the following: homework, class work, presentations, simulations, quizzes, tests, creating and drawing models, investigation activities, learning logs, journals, science fair projects, and other student projects.

Science 8

The eighth grade science course is the culmination of three years of integrated science. The use of the scientific method is employed in the eighth grade. The course encompasses the general themes of scale and structure, energy, stability and change, systems, and interactions. Major areas covered include the following: electricity and magnetism, atoms and molecules, our fluid environment, changes in life and earth over time, and the planets, stars, and galaxies.

Class resources and materials shall include, but not be limited to the following: selected county textbook and ancillary materials, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, videos, community professionals, school science fair, lab equipment, field trips, computer software, the electronic media, and the Internet.

Assessment methods in science include the following: homework, class work, presentations, simulations, quizzes, tests, creating, and drawing models, investigation activities, learning logs, journals, science fair projects, and other student projects.

Social Science Department

Social Science 6

This course covers United States history from 1877 to the present. It is a continued study that began in grade 5. Thus our topics extend from the end of the Reconstruction period to the present day. Students should continue to learn fundamental concepts in civics, economics, and geography in the context of United States history. Students use simulations, class debates, projects or any innovative technique to make the learning experiences lively and memorable. Also, current events, map and globe skills are used as often as possible to supplement the course.

Class resources and materials shall include, but not be limited to the following: selected county textbook, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, videos, audiotapes, newspapers, current events, electronic media, maps, globes, primary source material, supplementary novels, books, periodicals, generic resources, computer software, the Internet, interviews, and field trips.

A wide range of assessments allow students an opportunity to demonstrate success in a variety of ways such as participation through discussions, independent work both in and out of the classroom, quizzes and tests, written papers such as historical fiction, biographies, weekly reports of current events, extended research on people and events, as well as oral reports on past and present events.

Civics

In civics, seventh-grade students study the role of U.S. citizens in the American political and economic systems. The students study the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions and the structure and function of the national, state, and local governments. They also study the basic principles of economics as they apply to the U.S. economy. This course is designed to foster patriotism, respect for the law, a sense of civic duty, and sound economic decision-making.

Class resources and materials shall include, but not be limited to the following: selected county textbook, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, videos, audiotapes, newspapers, current events, electronic media, maps, globes, primary source material, supplementary novels, books, periodicals, generic resources, computer software, the Internet, interviews, and field trips

A wide range of assessments allow students an opportunity to demonstrate success in a variety of ways such as participation through discussions, independent work both in and out of the classroom, quizzes and tests, written papers such as historical fiction, biographies, weekly reports of current events, extended research on people and events, as well as oral reports on past and present events.

World Geography

Students of World Geography (grade 8) are expected to use maps, globes, and other graphic tools successfully to acquire and process geographic information. They are expected to develop a spatial view of the world that includes cultural and physical characteristics of places and regions. An emphasis shall also be placed on critical physical and cultural processes such as climate, mountain-building forces, erosion, flooding, human migration, urbanization, international trade, and transportation. Successful completion of this course will result in a high school credit being awarded toward graduation.

Class resources and materials shall include, but not be limited to the following: selected county textbook, the Virginia Standards of Learning handbook, videos, audiotapes, newspapers, current events, electronic media, maps, globes, primary source material, supplementary novels, books, periodicals, generic resources, computer software, the Internet, interviews, and field trips.

A wide range of assessments allow students an opportunity to demonstrate success in a variety of ways such as participation through discussions, independent work both in and out of the classroom, quizzes and tests, written papers such as historical fiction, biographies, weekly reports of current events, extended research on people and events, as well as oral reports on past and present events

Electives

Band

The first and only school-based opportunity for a child to learn to play an instrument begins with sixth grade band. This class begins with the basics of holding and assembling an instrument and progresses to learning the scale and playing the instrument. By the eighth grade year, students expand their knowledge of the fundamental techniques such as scales, rhythms, chords, and range of their instruments. Students prepare for All-County and All-District auditions and for advanced band competition at All-District concert festival. Students are prepared for the transition to the high school band program through developing confidence in their performance abilities on their instruments.

Chorus

Chorus is offered as a year long elective in seventh and eighth grade to allow students to further develop their general knowledge of music and to improve their vocal and sight reading skills. In the sixth grade a general music course is offered. Students are given the opportunity to audition and participate in All-County and All-District Choruses. Two musicals and two concerts are performed each year.

Exploratory

The middle schools in Washington County Virginia offer a variety of exploratory classes to allow students to investigate and develop interests in areas that were previously unfamiliar to them. Each of the exploratory classes will contribute knowledge and life skills in areas that will benefit the student at school and in the job market. All of the schools offer Spanish, computer, technology, and art. Basic business and agriscience are offered at some of the schools.